Determining how much to tip for pizza delivery is a slightly more complicated equation than at first glance. Unlike sit-down food service establishments where a typical 15-20% may be considered a good tip, pizza delivery usually returns a much lower gratuity to the driver. However the fact is that they are doing essentially the same task as a server would in a restaurant – delivering food to plate, usually with a friendly smile and often being open to ensuring special requests are met. Plus there’s the not inconsiderable factor of their needing to drive your pie to your door. As she was see, it’s a murky world….

Know The Policy Of The Pizza Company

This is really important when considering what amounts to a suitable tip percentage to add on top of the price of the order. Wages, conditions and tipping policy vary enormously between pizza delivery companies. The three essential factors to look out for are:

  • Wage Policy: Does the pizza company pay their delivery staff a reasonable/standard hourly rate, or are the delivery drivers – like many restaurant servers – dependent on their tips to make up their living wage? There’s no standard rule here and if in doubt it’s a straightforward question to ask when making a telephone order.
  • Gas Policy: While it’s less common nowadays for pizza delivery drivers to cover the expense of gas from their own pocket, it does still happen especially with smaller independent restaurants. Remember that in many cases for the driver time is money, and they will need to make a round trip too-and-from the outlet to your home. It’s even worse if they are having to pay for their own gas – so do the decent thing and tip well if this is this case.
  • Tip Policy: Some operators demand that their drivers pool the tips they earn with kitchen and counter staff. Others allow 100% of tips to go straight to the driver. This is related of course to the wage policy, but should still be a matter of polite inquiry when calculating a tip.

Does The Size Of The Order Matter?

This is a bone of major contention with many delivery drivers. Lets say for example someone tips $5 on a $15 dollar, single pizza order. That’s pretty good – a 25% tip for a single pizza, and most drivers would be happy with that. Now lets up the order and say we’re hosting a party. Ten pizzas, $150 worth – does the driver deserve a $50 tip for the only additional effort being carrying a larger stack of boxes from the car trunk to the doorstep?


Such examples show how pizza delivery tipping differs from that in a restaurant/diner. In a seated establishment that level of percentage tip would still be pretty much expected, as after all the wait staff will have had to go to much more effort serving a large group than they would with a solo customer. On the other hand the pizza guy has had only a tiny little more effort to go to. Most people wouldn’t tip that 25% on their pizza delivery, but instead drop their tip substantially down to maybe 10% ($15). Again most drivers wouldn’t complain at that in regards to the effort/tip ratio, but as ever it’s subjective.

Service Matters!

It’s common for delivery drivers to be willing to make sure any special requests are met providing they don’t cause too great disruption to their operation. These should be considered ‘value added’ levels of service and tipped according to how much the customer appreciates the efforts. Classic examples of this would range from anything as simple as making sure pizzas are cooked or prepared in a certain manner, through to the driver detouring to pick up sundries (often drinks etc.) from a store while making their delivery.

The flexibility of the driver in adhering to these requests should never be underestimated as they are truly going the extra mile! Depending upon their wage/delivery/mileage conditions it may even leave them out of pocket, so always tip good service very well indeed. There’s masses of anecdotes of people tipping up to 50% when a party has been saved thanks to the good nature of their pizza delivery driver.

In regards to delivery speed always try and be reasonable with how long it may take. Ordering pizza at halftime in the Superbowl is going to likely take a little longer to get to your door than it would on a quiet midweek evening. Don’t take out delays or even mix-ups with the order out on the driver, as you can be sure that these will be much more of an inconvenience to them. Providing these issues are respectively anticipated and resolved with grace, then it’s unfair to penalize with a reduced gratuity.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen the amount to tip on a pizza delivery is never a cut and dry decision. From the driver’s perspective bear in mind that they often know which of their regular customers tend to tip well (it’s surprising how uniform the majority of people’s pizza orders tend to be!). Some people are naturally going to be cheaper than others, and unlike dining out there is less of an implied obligation for people to tip ‘the going rate’ for their freshly baked pie.

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